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Billboard leaves for trees, how?

Topics about 3DS Max, Maya, Photoshop, and various other software packages.


 

User avatar mindflux
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Billboard leaves for trees, how?

Postby mindflux » 14.11.2014, 19:12

Does CE currently support billboards for tree leaves, and if it does, how would I go about setting them up? My searches by usual means came up short.

Thanks!
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Re: Billboard leaves for trees, how?

Postby CollinBishop » 14.11.2014, 19:35

mindflux wrote:Does CE currently support billboards for tree leaves, and if it does, how would I go about setting them up? My searches by usual means came up short.

Thanks!


Many people will make them in external apps such as Speedtree or directly in a DCC tool like Maya or Max. In Cryengine they have a specific shader for vegetation that is split between grass/leaves. So yes it does support them and I recommend finding a L-system tree generator and import them as a cgf. Furthermore you can employ touchbending and detail bending for more immersion. Last polishing effect would be leaf particles falling in the scene to give the illusion of physical effects. I go over some effects in this video:

User avatar mindflux
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Re: Billboard leaves for trees, how?

Postby mindflux » 14.11.2014, 19:53

Once again, thanks for the pointers, Collin. What I meant is that I already have the tree created in Max but I'm having hard time configuring the shader in CryEngine. The shader is set as 'Vegetation' but I can't find anything related to enabling billboard rendering in the parameters.

Thanks for the video link, great stuff.
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Re: Billboard leaves for trees, how?

Postby CollinBishop » 14.11.2014, 19:54

mindflux wrote:Once again, thanks for the pointers, Collin. What I meant is that I already have the tree created in Max but I'm having hard time configuring the shader in CryEngine. The shader is set as 'Vegetation' but I can't find anything related to enabling billboard rendering in the parameters.

Thanks for the video link, great stuff.


You need to open up the shader generation param tab underneath the texture paths section. In there you can select the checkbox for leaves.
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Re: Billboard leaves for trees, how?

Postby mindflux » 14.11.2014, 20:01

That's ticked in as well.

Hmm -- maybe billboards are not supported if the asset is used as a brush?
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Re: Billboard leaves for trees, how?

Postby CollinBishop » 14.11.2014, 20:09

You should not be placing the vegetation as a brush. It is not meant to be used that way. Create a proper vegetation category and paint and refine that way.
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Re: Billboard leaves for trees, how?

Postby mindflux » 14.11.2014, 20:16

Yep, that's one aspect that I don't like about CryEngine currently since it makes it impossible to place assets with precision.

I'll check out if that's the culprit.
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Re: Billboard leaves for trees, how?

Postby CollinBishop » 14.11.2014, 20:17

mindflux wrote:Yep, that's one aspect that I don't like about CryEngine currently since it makes it impossible to place assets with precision.

I'll check out if that's the culprit.


You can individually manipulate and clone vegetation. The precision is there. Selecting vegetation you can enter into the standard transform tools to refine whatever you want.
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Re: Billboard leaves for trees, how?

Postby mindflux » 14.11.2014, 20:26

(How can I select individual objects when using vegetation terrain distribution?) Got it now, thanks.

It looks like billboards are not working any better when using vegetation, not sure what I'm missing here.
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Re: Billboard leaves for trees, how?

Postby VABG » 14.11.2014, 20:50

Well, as this for some reason has not been answered, billboards are not supported outside of particles to the best of my knowledge. Although the final lod for vegetation are perhaps billboards, but still, in general, not supported.
I'm working on a project, hopefully I actually get this one somewhere
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Re: Billboard leaves for trees, how?

Postby CollinBishop » 14.11.2014, 20:52

mindflux wrote:(How can I select individual objects when using vegetation terrain distribution?) Got it now, thanks.

It looks like billboards are not working any better when using vegetation, not sure what I'm missing here.


I have never encountered any issues with billboard/cards in the engine. The veg shader always handles mine alright. Are you able to post a picture of your material editor setup and veg in frame? As stated from the previous poster the billboards are rendered on distant veg. At least they used to be.
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Re: Billboard leaves for trees, how?

Postby VABG » 14.11.2014, 21:10

I think the op means the old type of leaf-bunch-billboarding "Does CE currently support billboards for tree leaves", which generally doesn't work too well with real-time shadows, and I assume due to such issues, and others as well (rotation issues, repetitive look etc), is not supported.
I'm working on a project, hopefully I actually get this one somewhere
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Re: Billboard leaves for trees, how?

Postby mindflux » 14.11.2014, 21:31

Yep, that's exactly the sort of billboards I meant -- sorry for the possible confusion. While the technique can be considered pretty old-school some recent racing games (at least Grid 2, Trackmania Valley) use such approach for foliage, and since it seems to work pretty nicely and efficiently I would have wanted to do a bit of research for our use. Obviously the technique mainly works only for deciduous trees, where you could use small batches of leaves as a billboard and populate the tree with those.
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Re: Billboard leaves for trees, how?

Postby CollinBishop » 15.11.2014, 12:45

mindflux wrote:Yep, that's exactly the sort of billboards I meant -- sorry for the possible confusion. While the technique can be considered pretty old-school some recent racing games (at least Grid 2, Trackmania Valley) use such approach for foliage, and since it seems to work pretty nicely and efficiently I would have wanted to do a bit of research for our use. Obviously the technique mainly works only for deciduous trees, where you could use small batches of leaves as a billboard and populate the tree with those.


I believe they mentioned about billboards being phased out because they were actually more intensive to swap to compared to the instanced vegetation they have running. As many know their vegetation is heavily optimized. It is still possible you could setup your own billboard lua file to house logic to make the trees face the camera. I know you would rather have a turn-key solution though.
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Re: Billboard leaves for trees, how?

Postby mindflux » 15.11.2014, 14:17

Thanks Collin, sounds reasonable. The vegetation performance in CryEngine is pretty much astonishing especially considering how great the result looks. In UE4 billboards can be configured in the material setup and it's pretty straight-forward as long as you know what you're doing, but well... it's no CryEngine.

What would be the rough process of setting up billboards via Lua?